Volume 16, Issue 18
October 14, 2016
Warning: Some of the facts contained in this volume were so dated they had to be exhumed from actual metal filing cabinets containing paper (not digital) folders.
Did We Get It Wrong? What About Forest Renewal BC?
Our readers don’t miss much. So naturally we got mail when we breathlessly stated in our last RoundUpDate (Vol. 16 – Issue 17) that we hadn’t seen public forestry investments like our government’s recent restoration and carbon announcements since the FRDA days in the 80s and early 90s. Yes, there was Forest Renewal BC enacted by the NDP in 1994. And in some quarters there still is a sort of “that which shall not be named” feel to the former Crown corporation, and its short history. But that is not the reason we didn’t refer to it. Just for the record, by our reckoning—which involved dusting off a lot of old reports—FRBC spent at least a billion dollars on backlog reforestation, enhanced forestry and watershed restoration before the BC Liberals axed it following their election in 2001. That was a lot of money—twice the FRDAs. Probably more than what is imagined in the BC Liberal’s new restoration scheme. And certainly a lot more than what our government has invested in forestry during its last 15 years. But we didn’t think that FRBC was comparable, even though it shared many of the same goals as our government’s recent commitments. We felt it was different because it was then funded from a dedicated portion of the revenues the forest industry paid for the right to harvest timber on Crown land i.e., stumpage.
Our government has not proposed at this point raising taxes on the forest industry to pay for its forest restoration and carbon sequestration programs. Although at the same time it is not exactly clear how all the proposed programs will be resourced. Nevertheless, the BC Liberals appear willing to treat forest restoration as a broad public good that should be funded from the broad provincial budget and its priorities. This is similar to how both our Federal and Provincial government’s approached forest restoration with the FRDA programs. So that’s how we saw it. Notwithstanding the possible flimsiness of that argument—that the exact provenance of public funds matter in this case—FRBC does deserve recognition for its past forestry achievements. Now looking forward, what’s really worth paying attention to is what our various political parties have to say about forest restoration during the run-up to next May’s election.
WSCA Awarded Green Timbers Award
At its annual conference held in Sidney last week the Forest Nursery Association of BC awarded its prestigious Green Timbers Award to the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association for its longstanding contributions to the history and practice of silviculture in British Columbia. In making the presentation FNABC President Elizabeth Brown cited accomplishments such as bringing silviculture seedling producers under the Forest Service Providers Compensation Fund Regulation and the WSCA’s role in convincing government to include seedling nurseries under the Greenhouse Carbon Tax Relief Grant; initiatives that provide direct benefits to nursery operators. She also recognized the Association’s steady role in lobbying government to make investments in forest restoration and its voice in public relations promoting forestry. This is the first time the award has been presented to an association. The award is dedicated to the memory of the Green Timbers Nursery, our first provincial government’s seedling nursery established in 1930 in the then wilds of Surrey. Now a heritage site the nursery closed in 1999. Some original buildings remain in use. But the original grounds are only a remnant, located a few blocks from the King George Expo Line terminus. The reward reflects the original farsighted and enduring spirit that led to the establishment of the ground-breaking nursery and the part it played in today’s reforestation programs.